The EU is to vote on banning cloned meat this week

On June 17 MEPs from the Environment and Agriculture Committees will vote on draft regulations proposing to ban the cloning of farm animals and imports of products from cloned animals.

Human health and animal welfare issues are concerns that have been raised in relation to cloning of animals.

James Holtum, a spokesperson for the ECR Group says that we saw Dolly the sheep in 1996, the first animal to be cloned, and she died a few years later.

“This is the main crux of the concern. There are ethical issues obviously but also there are animal welfare issues that animal welfare is put at risk by the cloning techniques that are currently used.

It’s generally not done in Europe anyway, it’s actually more widely prevalent in the USA, Canada and parts of South America where they just clone the top breeding animals.

“Our shadow rapporteur, Jim Nicholson, agrees that you need to be looking at a provisional ban which is what the European Commission has proposed particularly because the EFSA has said that animals do suffer from this,” he says.

The main question the committee will decide in its vote is whether to go further and ban cloning permanently across the EU and whether to ban any food from descendants of cloned animals as well, Holtum says.

“The second part in particular, on descendants of cloned animals, the EFSA again said that there are no safety concerns so we want to make sure we’re consistent in how we apply EFSA’s advice both on welfare and on food safety and on the issue of permanent cloning.

Holtum says that at the moment the techniques do lead to welfare problems but maybe we shouldn’t completely rule it out in the future because it may be important in the future and it may be possible to apply that science.